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Institutional Philanthropy in Ireland

Despite its reputation for generosity to strangers, Ireland has been slow to institutionalise giving: we have some 164 entities (including memorial trusts) devoted to philanthropy, or one per 30,000 Irish citizens. Other countries of a similar size have many more philanthropic foundations.

Institutional entities in comparison to population

Classifying Irish philanthropies

Philanthropies in Ireland take various institutional forms, and we follow international standards in classifying them as community foundations, corporate foundations, family foundations, independent foundations, operating philanthropies, philanthropic intermediaries, payroll-giving schemes.

Some – especially the larger ones – derive their income from fund-raising, most have been established with an endowment, and a few operate a hybrid endowment/fundraising model.

We have included the corporate giving of private firms only where this is made through a separate foundation in Ireland – in future reports we hope to be able to capture more evidence of giving in Ireland by multi-national foundations.

Learn more about Irish philanthropies.

Few give more than €1m

The Atlantic Philanthropies – whose aggregate giving of €1bn made such an impact in advocacy, early learning, higher education, human rights, research and voluntarism in Ireland since the 1990s – has now fully spent down and exited the field.

Most Irish philanthropies are small, with only 12 distributing funds in excess of €1m per annum (according to available data). Of these, one is a community foundation, one is a corporate foundation, two are family foundations, two are independent foundations, three are operating foundations and three are philanthropic intermediaries that we know of.

Using reported expenditure from 22 philanthropies in 2019, we have analysed the scale, profile and targets of their giving in Ireland.

Learn more.